A few years ago I had an idea for a graphic novel. It was an epic sci-fi post-apocalyptic time travel story that -done the way I had originally imagined- would have taken at least a few hundred pages. However, I was already knee deep into my work on AGARA and the thought of diving into another huge comix project was not appealing. So I decided to make an experiment of it and challenge myself to distill it down to its most essential elements and tell the story in as few pages as possible. The result was an 11 page future-shocker comic somewhat reminiscent of Golden Age adventure comics of the 1930s and 40s. It wound up being printed in a British anthology but -until now- never made its way onto the internet.
Five and a half years ago I was somewhere else. 1000 miles away. California. I was living with my then girlfriend (and current ex-wife) in a 2nd story apartment in the dumpy part of San Pedro. To get to the apartment you had to go up a gated off staircase squeezed between a medical marijuana dispensary and a tattoo parlor. It was #6. The apartment, that is. Third on the right. Nice high ceilings. There was no air conditioning and big west facing loft-style windows that were impossible to keep covered and open at the same time. In the summer the sun shone through and turned the place into an oven.
On weekends I would ride my bike down to the harbor and look at the boats and daydream. The house Bukowski died in is somewhere in that area but I never cared enough to track it down. I’d ride up sixth street where it was all coffee shops and thrift stores. I’d drink hot coffee and people watch, but speak to no one. I bought records and old sci-fi novels at the Salvation Army on the corner.
Eventually someone stole that bike.
My ex’s dad had given me that bike. It was a piece of crap with no brakes on the back wheel and loose handle bars. I feel bad for the person desperate enough to steal it.
We, my ex and I, were working at a bakery in Redondo Beach. I loved working at that bakery. I hung out in back and baked cakes all day. Did some dishes, cleaned the floors, kept inventory filled, and drew comics on my lunch breaks. The bakery did what all things do and met its end. But that’s a different story.
What I’m talking about here are the comics I was drawing. Lots of minis. But one day something snapped and I started drawing one long continuous comic called “AGARA.” I didn’t know what it was or what it meant but I knew it was something I needed to do. I cranked out page after page fueled by gallons of coffee.
Eventually I had 350 roughly penciled pages of plot-less stream of consciousness adventure fantasy with no end in sight. I consulted my friend Jared and came to the conclusion that a massive reworking was unavoidable if AGARA was ever going to be anything approaching coherency.
Characters changed genders, merged, and completely vanished.
And now here I am in Oklahoma with a 99% completed version of AGARA that is as different from that original draft as my life now is from that one I left 1000 miles away in California. I’m still not sure what it is or what it all means but It was just something I had to do.
So, as you all know, I’m in the final stages of completing my graphic novel “Agara.” It’s been a five and a half year journey that, quite honestly, I’m relieved to see come to an end. It’s action, magic, adventure, and generally weird. I can’t wait to set it loose on the world.
The pages are complete. All that’s left is scanning and touching up by way of Photoshop.
But yesterday I decided to take a break from all of that and do something I’ve meant to do for a long time: Re-edit the notoriously bad “MANOS” the Hands of Fate into something resembling a watchable film.
Because 1) I needed the practice before I get started on some video projects that I’ve got lined up post-Agara. 2) I think Manos’ biggest flaw, beyond all the other things wrong with it, is the fact that the movie is stretched to about twice the length it needs to be. Overlong takes, repetitive dialog, and go-nowhere scenes all add up to a horribly boring feature with a reasonably entertaining short hidden away inside.
The cold can’t decide if it wants to stay. It came in a few days ago and turned the winter’s final rain into its first snow. The last of what little snow fell is still around. It hides in those lonesome corners where the sun doesn’t reach. It watches anxiously as puddles form in the light of day. But the days are short and the night returns to keep the orphaned snow safe and cold.
…that someone spoke to me in a dream when I was about sixteen years old:
“What side of time are you on?”
I still don’t know what that means. It was either a message from an entity from beyond the fourth dimension or it was nothing at all. I thought I could use that to segue into the subject of the “New Year” but it seemed to just go nowhere. Ah well, such is life. A wise man once told me; “Aim for the stars, land in the trees.”
It is upon this blog that I intend to display my various works of art. Mostly comics. Here is the first page from my nearly completed graphic novel AGARA. My goal right now is to have the thing done and fully accessible to the public in the next few months. But for now, as I continue to touch up and tweak, I will post pages as I go.